Alright, kiddies, sit down, it’s time for another lecture with Liz.
Apparently this is going to be a recurring theme since I seem to get so riled up so very easily. Here we go…
Today, we will be discussing harassment. Last night, I saw a video, which I am sure most of you have seen as well, though I will link it just in case http://sourcefed.com/this-is-10-hours-of-walking-in-nyc-as-a-woman/?fb_comment_id=fbc_615866631858960_615873245191632_615873245191632#f2a3a29548 Go ahead, watch it and come back. I’ll wait.
Alright, ready? Now, throughout this video, we see our protagonist, a young woman, walking silently, almost fearfully in fact, through the streets of New York. She clutches something resembling a small weight in each hand, though I can not be sure if that is what they truly are. Over the course of this video we see several different scenarios play out. Various men of different ages speak to her, some simply wishing her a good day, others whistling at her or commenting on her appearance, and a couple who actually approach or follow her. The theme of this video is harassment on the streets, but not all of these people were harassing her. Certainly, some were, but not all.
This video was (apparently) filmed over a 10 hour period. Whether it was a consecutive 10 hours, or just over a few days, we don’t know. That is irrelevant. This video, however is just under two minutes long. Certainly they were not going to post a 10 hour video, that would be silly, nobody would watch it. Anyway, she couldn’t hope to get 10 straight hours of harassment. I say hope because that is the point of this video. She deliberately put herself out there looking to be harassed by these men for the sake of her video. The thing is, this is the two minutes they chose to publish. Leaving 9 hours 58 minutes and 3 seconds (roughly) unseen. This suggests that this is all they could scrape together for this video, which begs the question: why did they include the men who were simply being kind? Those men were not harassing her, were they so desperate for footage that they kept those in to make the video longer?
My main problem with this video is that there is a difference between a compliment and harassment.
“Hey, you’re beautiful” = compliment.
“Damn, gurl, can I have your number?” *follows you for 5 minutes* = harassment.
“Have a good day” = genuine courtesy.
“I just saw $1,000” (directed at your body) = harassment.
“God bless” = genuine platitude.
“You don’t wanna talk? It’s cause I’m ugly, right?” = harassment.
They are not the same thing. They should not be treated like they are the same thing. The danger we run into here is that this video is telling young women that they should be fearful if a man wishes them a good day. Should a man be afraid to do so? No, this is fear mongering, and it is wrong. We live in a world these days where we are told to be afraid. We are told everything is wrong. This video states, at the end, that their goal is to eliminate street harassment. This is an honorable goal, but I doubt it is possible.
Another problem I have with this video is that it says nothing of the harassment of men. We seem to want to believe that only women can be harassed, and only men can do the harassing. This is simply not true, and it sets us up for another problem. Men feel like they are not allowed to feel harassed, like they are obligated to take it in stride if a woman comes up to them and grabs their butt or says “hey, baby, can I have your number?”. We are trying so hard to masculize men and feminize women that we are becoming deluded. Men and women do not have clear cut emotions. We have feelings, wants, needs that are all over the charts, and anyone can be harassed. Anyone can do the harassing. I am so sick of seeing these things targeted toward saying that men are the enemy and women should feel threatened any time a man is around. It is not okay, it is not right, and I will not stand for it.
Thoughts? Please feel free to discuss in the comments below.
Until next time, this has been another Lectures With Liz. (working title, perhaps I will keep it.)